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“"New York is the big leagues," said Hollendorfer, who is also Sahara Sky's co-owner. "Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar are also big too, but it's nice to come out here and win a race like this against the best trainers and horses." Though based in California, Sahara Sky was not exactly a newcomer to New York heading into the Met Mile. He was last seen at Aqueduct on April 6, finishing second in the Grade 1 Carter, a race that might have added to Hollendorfer's win total if not for some traffic issues in the stretch. In the Met Mile, Sahara Sky had clear sailing on the outside and under an impeccably timed ride by Joel Rosario rallied from last in the field of nine to hit the wire inches ahead of Cross Traffic, the fiercely determined pacesetter. After finishing second by a head last month in another mile stakes at Belmont -- the Westchester -- Cross Traffic suffered another tough beat for trainer Todd Pletcher. The $2.90-to-1 second choice reeled off brutal fractions of 22.40 and 44.88 seconds and tenaciously held on to the lead until the final stride of a mile covered in 1:34.17. Flat Out, the $2.50-to-1 favorite who beat Cross Traffic in the Westchester, settled for third this time as he finished 3 ½ lengths behind the winner after being bumped while moving on the turn. Meanwhile, everything worked out perfectly for Sahara Sky -- and Hollendorfer -- on this day. "My partner [co-owner Kim Lloyd] and I talked it over and one of our goals was to win the Met Mile. I'd never won it and I wanted a chance to win it and Kim did also," said Hollendorfer, whose horse paid $11.60 as the third choice in the wagering. Hollendorfer wasn't sure if Sahara Sky had won when the horses crossed the finish line, and he was equally uncertain about future plans for the 5-year-old horse. The son of Pleasant Tap is definitely heading back to California. Yet even though Sahara Sky has yet to race beyond a mile, Hollendorfer was not prepared to rule out trying the two-turn, mile-and-an-eighth, Grade 1 Whitney on Aug. 3 when Saratoga rolls around. "The way he ran today, it looks like he could get a little more ground," Hollendorfer said. "I'll watch the films and the gallop out and see what I think about that, but it might be a possibility to look at [the Whitney]. I don't want to keep flying him across the country, though." Judging by the results of the Met Mile, there's probably a growing number of horsemen in New York who would echo that thought and recommend that Hollendorfer and Sahara Sky spend their summer out west. They, no doubt, saw enough of him in the Belmont Park winner's circle on Memorial Day.
Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar are also big too, but it's nice to come out here and win a race like this against the best trainers and horses.” -- Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer